Every fashionista knows a killer pair of heels can transform an outfit, but let’s be real: when you’re trekking across campus through unpredictable autumn weather (while hauling a bag filled with books), the last thing you want is to be hobbling along in 4-inch stilettos. For class, cheap and chic flats are the way to go. The right flats can give your outfit a shot of style without breaking the bank.
Classic: Every girl should own a pair of basic ballet flats. They’re a fail-safe option when you’re running late, not feeling particularly fashionable (we all have those days), and they’re great for neutralizing an otherwise elaborate ensemble. For a shoe that will always be stylish, try the Canvas Bow Tie Flats from Charlotte Russe, available in both black and brown. They’re very affordable at $18.99 (with a special promotion to get any second pair of shoes for just $15!). An updated classic is the Kimchi Blue T-Strap Skimmer from Urban Outfitters ($28), a patent shoe available in clay, teal, black, and pink.
Metallic: Metallic shoes work well as neutrals but they aren’t dull. The Faded Glory Nila Embossed Patent Flat in silver is a great find at Wal-Mart for only $11! Also reasonably priced at $14.80, Forever21’s Metallic Round Toe Flats take traditional gold ballet flats to the next level by adding a touch of drama with an oversized black velvet bow.
Moccasin: Nothing says autumn weather like the resurgence of moccasins! My favorites are the classic suede Minnetonka Thunderbird Moccasins with boat soles. In a neutral color like brown, tan, or black, they coordinate with all your fall clothes. The suede is soft and comfy for class, the beading adds a quirky touch, and the hard sole gives them durability that is ideal for constant wear. These moccasins are a classic choice that will last you for years, all for just $36.95.
Patterned: Add an artistic pop of color with the Mossimo Supply Co. Odell Ballet Flats in Blue Print, a basic ballet flat in a vivid print of royal blue, black, and salmon pink that takes inspiration from modern art. The Odell Ballet Flat is also available in a fun cheetah print. At only $12.99, both pairs are a steal!
Feminine: Embodying the lady-like elegance of a classic Chanel ballet flat is the Taryn Cap-Toe Ballet Flat by Target’s Merona Collection. The ivory shoe has a quilted black patent-leather cap-toe with a feminine pink trim and bow; it’s an adorable combination that could do double-duty as professional footwear for work or a campus event when you need to look your best. These flats are currently on sale at the Target website for just $10.48!
Ruffled: A bit of ruffling adds a romantic touch to shoes without looking overly embellished. The Ruffled Faux-Leather Ballet Flat from Old Navy is simple and chic in black, silver, gold, and bougainvillea (a purple shade), and priced right at $24.50. For a tougher look, check out the black or egg plant-hued Zipper Tape Flats from Forever21, priced at just $22.80.
Menswear-Inspired: Take a cue from the boys and check out these menswear-inspired footwear options for fall: both the Wing-Tip Oxfords from Forever21 ($19.80) and the Deena & Ozzy Quad Skimmer available at Urban Outfitters ($38) are chic interpretations of classic spectator shoes.
— By Ali Straka, University of Missouri